A group of trainee affiliate teachers are seated on the floor, smiling and applauding

First cohort of Affiliate Teachers join us for intensive training week

On Wednesday 27 July, we welcomed our very first cohort of recreational dance teachers to begin their training with us on our new Affiliate Training and Assessment Programme. 30 trainee Affiliate Teachers joined us for a week of intensive training held at the School’s Covent Garden studios and at the Royal Opera House.

The training was delivered by Mark Annear, Head of Training and Access, and Karen Berry, Senior Teacher Training Manager, who conceived of and created the programme; Vanessa Donkin, Affiliate Programme Manager; and other key members of The Royal Ballet School team. The innovative, non-syllabus-based programme offers an alternative to the model of examination study offered by many recreational dance organisations and is focused on providing high-quality, holistic training.

The trainees were given an exciting and comprehensive introduction to the aims and ethos of the programme and The Royal Ballet School’s System of Training. Through a combination of theoretical and practical sessions, class discussion and reflection, the trainees gained an understanding of the key areas of teaching and learning theory, classical ballet technique, body awareness and conditioning and creative practice and repertoire. There was also a lively session with the Commercial team who will be supporting the Affiliate Teachers with their marketing and communications needs as part of the programme.

There were plentiful opportunities for the trainees to build relationships with each other and the Royal Ballet School team, and share their ideas and approaches. We are building a new, inspirational community with our Affiliate Teachers and we were delighted to see the trainees enthusiastically embrace this.

The trainee Affiliate teachers will now implement the programme in their schools, applying the tools they have gained from their initial training, with some additional online training. They have access to a range of written documentation, videos and other supporting materials provided through an online hub on the School’s Video on Demand platform. Following a trial period, they will complete an evaluation to transition to full Affiliate Teachers of The Royal Ballet School.

Some of our trainees gave their feedback:

Such an inspirational week and an absolutely incredible course’

The most inspirational week of teacher training EVER. A full-on week of amazing classes, lectures, tasks and workshops with the most amazing group of open-minded people… I have been inspired to move in ways that are out of my comfort zone’

‘It was thoroughly excellent in every way and also for me personally very powerful’

‘Our whole group has bonded so well and we are all fired up by everything we learned, we are already running creative workshops and spreading the word. We simply LOVED it and can’t tell you how much it has made a difference in how we will teach our students moving forwards.’

Artistic Director of The Royal Ballet School Christopher Powney said:

‘I could not be more delighted that this game-changing programme has now launched and been received so well by our first cohort. The trainees were visibly filled with inspiration and renewed energy, and I’m so excited to see the positive impact they will have on the sector and on the young people they work with. My sincere thanks and congratulations to Mark Annear, Karen Berry and the whole team who have contributed, working with such skill and passion to bring the programme to fruition.’

Commercial Director Carol Dray said:

‘It was great to meet our first cohort face to face – the energy in the room was infectious! Understanding how these individual business owners see the Affiliate programme enhancing what they do in their schools and impacting their students was a real insight, and will guide us in supporting them as the programme continues.’

Senior Teacher Training Manager Karen Berry said:

‘Last week’s intensive training session was a huge success, thanks to the commitment, expertise and boldness of the whole team! It’s truly extraordinary what we have achieved in such a short time. It has been moving to meet the trainees and fully understand the impact the programme will have, not just on these teachers but on future generations of dance teachers and students. Seeing the progress the trainees made from Day 1 to 5, not just in their skill but in their approach and confidence, was inspiring. I’m deeply grateful to all who have been integral to building and delivering this remarkable programme from the ground up.’

We look forward to following our first cohort’s journey to becoming fully-fledged Affiliate Teachers, and to welcoming our second cohort of trainees to commence their training this October.

Find out more about the Affiliate Training and Assessment Programme

Browse images from our intensive training week below:

Our first cohort of affiliate trainee teachers